Commentators may have every fan’s dream job. They get a front row seat to the biggest events in the world, enjoy the company of the biggest stars in the business, and are paid to talk about fights. Can’t beat that, right?
Maybe. But it doesn’t mean it’s always an easy job. Technical issues arise, opinions need to be formed and articulated almost immediately, and millions of fans are waiting to jump on any mistake.
Last night at UFC 171, Joe Rogan — whose energetic commentary style has earned more adulation than most — was criticized for several perceived issues.
First, several fans felt Rogan exhibited a bias against Hector Lombard, who scored perhaps the biggest win of his career at UFC 171 in a dominating performance over Jake Shields. It was felt that Rogan’s remarks, implying that few fans would be excited to see Lombard contest the welterweight title, were unfair.
Second, when Rogan implied that Rory MacDonald should be the next challenger to the welterweight title, he was accused of towing the company line, rather than offering his true opinions. (It’s widely perceived that, despite a recent loss to Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald is being positioned to be the next Canadian star for the UFC.)
This morning, Rogan took to the Underground Forum to answer the criticism.
I LOVE that dude. He’s scary as f—, and when he’s blitzkrieging you he’s one of the most frightening motherf—–s on earth. That said, I think he only did enough to win, on a night where he should have been trying to sell himself as a guy we want to see challenge for the title. He was clearly winning the fight, but his own corner was screaming at him to fight during the last round. Winning is certainly the most important thing for a fighter, and he certainly did that. No one has ever handled Jake the way Hector did. His judo was a thing of beauty. I just think he coasted too much in an important showcase fight.
The production had a list of fighters that are listed in the top contenders that they wanted me to pick one guy to challenge the title after the end of the event. It’s only my opinion and it certainly doesn’t mean that fighter will get the next shot. The reason I went with Rory is what I stated: I thought Woodley looked awesome, but the reality is Carlos blew his knee out on the take down, and then it gave out when Tyron kicked him. Tyron was really impressive in the opening of the 1st with his insane speed and ability to close the distance and I would LOVE to see him fight anyone, for the title or not. The guy is a stud. It was just my opinion given the information in front of me after that event, that if I had to choose one guy, I would have to go with Rory.
Rogan thanked fans for their criticism, describing himself, as always, just another fan of the sport. Despite any disagreement, he remarked: “We’re all hard core MMA fans and I feel it is a great honor to have the privilege of representing us.”